Australia Weighs Risks of Chinese Lease of Darwin Port Ahead of Australia-US 2+2 Meeting

Translated by: MOS Translation Team – Snorlax

Australia’s Prime Minister John Morrison said his defense ministry is reviewing how terminating the 99-year lease of the Darwin port by Chinese-owned Lanqiao Group will cause a backlash from the Communist Party of China, RFE/RL reported Sept. 10, citing the Australian Financial Review, which also confirmed that a 2+2 meeting between the Australian and U.S. defense and foreign ministers is expected to take place in Washington this month.

The Port of Darwin has been a U.S. Marine Corps base since 2012 and is considered a key strategic position in Australia. in 2015, the Chinese-owned Lanqiao Group signed a 99-year lease for the Port of Darwin with Australia’s self-governing territory of Northern Territory. This has continued to be the focus of national security controversy in Australia, and there have been repeated calls to revoke the lease in question. Peter Jennings, director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, predicted that the current Australia-US 2+2 meeting will also cover this issue.

Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton and Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews are more hawkish and want to terminate the leases on national security grounds. The country’s Ministries of Finance, Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Trade, on the other hand, have reservations about canceling the lease, fearing that it would further anger the Chinese Communist authorities and increase the risk to national sovereignty. Possible retaliatory actions by the Chinese Communist Party include the persecution of Australian citizens held in Chinese Communist prisons. The Chinese Communist Party last year announced the death penalty for Gillespie, an Australian national who had been arrested for seven years for drug smuggling. The assets of Australian companies doing business in the Communist country may also be threatened, such as Telstra.

Lanqiao Group is originally a private company in Rizhao, Shandong province. In 2014, it acquired Australia’s Western Energy, the 99-year operating rights of the Port of Darwin, the Port of Mare Island, Panama’s largest port, and the rkm oil and gas field in New Zealand, becoming another tool for the Communist Party’s expansion into the world.

Since July this year, Lanqiao Group has been exposed to financial credit rating downgrades and judicial freezing of company assets by the Chinese Communist Party. Apparently, it is also a victim of internal political struggle within the Communist Party.




Edited by: Eglise Bell 圣母院钟声

Posted by: Eglise Bell 圣母院钟声

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